The HPU Family Gives Back During the Holiday Season

Dec 23rd, 2021

The HPU Family Gives Back During the Holiday Season

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 23, 2021 – Throughout the months of November and December, High Point University students, faculty and staff hosted programs to benefit the local community and beyond. These efforts are part of the 110,000 hours of service and thousands of dollars that the HPU family contributes to local causes each year.

Community Christmas Drive

 HPU’s 11th Annual Community Christmas celebration continues welcoming thousands of families to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The free drive is available nightly from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Jan. 1.

Community Christmas Drive 1
High Point University continues welcoming thousands of people to the 11th Annual Community Christmas Drive. During the drive, families will enjoy views of the more than 100,000 Christmas lights, a life-size Nativity scene, 206 nutcrackers and other holiday decorations. The free drive is available nightly from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Jan. 1.

During the drive, families will enjoy views of the more than 100,000 Christmas lights, a life-size Nativity scene, 206 nutcrackers and other holiday decorations. Additional new features include more animals and shepherds in the Nativity scene, as well as ornaments that are 10-feet tall, North Carolina’s tallest Christmas tree, and giant wreaths and garland decorating the Qubein Center.

“It is a blessing to welcome thousands in the community to HPU’s Christmas Drive,” says HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein. “The Christmas season is meaningful and special to the HPU family, and we want to share this joy with the entire community.”

Stuff a Stocking Campaign

HPU’s Student Government Association spread Christmas cheer to senior citizens in the community this holiday season. SGA students filled 800 stockings for the Stuff a Stocking Campaign at the Salvation Army of High Point, which distributed the stockings to assisted living facilities and retirement communities.

HPU Stocking Campaign 2
HPU’s Student Government Association filled 800 stockings for the elderly through the Salvation Army of High Point’s Annual Stuff a Stocking Campaign.

The stockings included necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, gloves and ChapStick, as well as activities like journals and decks of cards. This is the 10th year HPU students have supported the Stuff a Stocking Campaign during the Christmas season.

“The Student Government Association’s stocking event is a hallmark of our organization’s commitment to the High Point community,” says Grayson Rachels, SGA’s vice president of service. “This event creates an avenue for our entire student body to participate in fulfilling an unmet need from senior citizens in the area. Hopefully by presenting these stockings, we will lift their spirits.”

Angel Tree Program

Continuing their annual tradition, HPU’s Board of Stewards raised $5,000 to purchase gifts for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. Moved by the student’s generosity and service to the High Point community, an anonymous donor matched their efforts with an additional $5,000, bringing the total to $10,000.

HPU Angel Tree 2021 3
HPU’s Board of Stewards raised $10,000 for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program this year and used the funds to purchase gifts for 100 children in the High Point community.

Together, the students purchased toys, clothes and necessities for 100 children in the High Point community to receive on Christmas.

“This tradition is a great way to bring Christmas presents to children, who otherwise may not have gotten them, in the spirit of Jesus,” said Taylor Ann O’Connor, philanthropy chair. “We want them to feel loved and get everything they want and need for Christmas. We spent time shopping, planning and praying for these children. It’s been a blast, and we’re so excited for the kids to receive their gifts.”

Student Council for Exceptional Children ASPIRE Dance

HPU’s Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) co-hosted a Christmas dance with the High Point Parks and Recreation’s ASPIRE (Adaptive Sports, Programs and Inclusive Recreation) unit for individuals with disabilities.

ASPIRE Dance 4
HPU’s Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) co-hosted a holiday dance on Dec. 7 at the Roy B. Culler, Jr. Senior Center, currently located inside High Point University’s Community Center space. Community members with disabilities were invited to dance the night away.

This event is a way for HPU students to connect with, develop friendships and support individuals in the High Point community. The SCEC consists of majors from across campus with a common interest in promoting awareness and providing support for individuals with disabilities. The student organization has hosted this event and others over the last 15 years.

“Our Christmas dance was very successful with the help from our friends at HPU,” said Stephanie Hedgecock, local coordinator for the Special Olympics of High Point. “The participants had a great time socializing with their peers, the HPU volunteers, the grinch and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.”

United Way of Greater High Point Gift

HPU’s Student Government Association gave $21,000 to the United Way of Greater High Point to support their 27 partner organizations. Every December, HPU’s SGA makes a significant monetary contribution to the United Way of Greater High Point.

SGA United Way Gift 5
HPU’s Student Government Association donated $21,000 to the United Way of Greater High Point. Pictured from left to right are Taylor Gray, SGA vice president of student engagement; Jake Pardi, SGA executive treasurer; Jane Liebscher, president of the United Way of Greater High Point; Katy Parisi, SGA president; and Grayson Rachels, SGA vice president of service and philanthropy.

“Giving back to the community is something that HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein instills in our campus, and I want to spread that to the students and encourage them to take part in supporting the city of High Point, too,” said Katy Parisi, a senior and SGA president.  “The United Way of Greater High Point understands firsthand the needs of our city and its residents. We have full faith in their service to our area.”

Nido R. Qubein School of Communication Gift Donation

Faculty in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication held their annual Operation Elf tradition to help local nonprofits provide gifts for families, including children and their parents. This year, professors in the school recruited the deans of HPU’s 10 academic schools and members of the Academic Leadership Council to help, too.

HPU Operation Elf Gifts 6
HPU professors in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication, as well as the deans of HPU’s 10 academic schools and members of the university’s Academic Leadership Council, provided Christmas gifts for 45 families.

Together, they raised funds and purchased gifts for 45 families through Family Services of Davidson County, Family Services of the Piedmont and the Guilford County Family Justice Center. As part of their efforts, $1,000 in gift cards were donated to moms and teens.

“Operation Elf provides the opportunity for us to give back to those in the local community in a unified way, which builds a sense of community for all involved,” says Dr. Jenny Lukow, chair of the Department of Sport, Event and Hospitality Management. “We appreciate the opportunity to support these organizations as they are truly making a positive impact on those who utilize their services.”

50th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast

HPU welcomed nearly 1,000 community members to the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center to kick off the holiday season for its 50th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast.

HPU Prayer Breakfast 7
The Community Prayer Breakfast is one of HPU’s timeless Christmas traditions. Nearly 1,000 people enjoyed a sermon by Bishop Gregory Palmer, and special music provided by the HPU Chapel Choir, Genesis Gospel Choir and the North Carolina Brass Band.

The Community Prayer Breakfast is one of HPU’s timeless Christmas traditions. Those in attendance enjoyed special music provided by the HPU Chapel Choir, Genesis Gospel Choir and the North Carolina Brass Band. Bishop Gregory Palmer, the episcopal leader of the Ohio West Area of the United Methodist Church, shared this year’s sermon, titled “Praying Our Way to Christmas.”

HPU’s Community Prayer Breakfast was supported by Digger Enterprises, Fence Builders, Inc., Johnson’s Modern Electric, Smith & Jennings, Inc. and the Haggai Prayer Breakfast Fund.

Professional Selling Club Turkey Donations

Local families enjoyed a free Thanksgiving meal again this year thanks to the efforts of HPU students in theProfessional Selling Club. The students raised funds and purchased items for 100 meals that include turkeys, corn, pumpkin pie fixings, rolls, green beans, a Publix gift card and a handwritten note.

HPU Turkey Dinners 8
Members of the HPU Professional Selling Club raised funds and purchased 100 Thanksgiving meals for local families, while HPU’s men’s lacrosse team and a representative for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater High Point worked together to load and transport the meals.

This is the seventh year the club has donated Thanksgiving meals to the community. This year, they united with the lacrosse team to help with the packing and loading of the food on the buses.

“This event is so important to me,” said Francesca Riehl, a junior and president of the Professional Selling Club. “We really love to show our care and support to the High Point community. High Point University is always instilling in us that we need to give back to the community and make the campus one with the community. Donating these Thanksgiving meals is so special to us.”

World Relief Triad Donation

HPU students in the Student Government Association and Volunteer Center donated $16,000 to benefit World Relief Triad. The money will help support the resettlement of Afghan evacuees in the Triad who were impacted by the U.S. operation in Afghanistan or under threat from the Taliban.

World Relief Triad Donation 9
HPU students in the Student Government Association and the Volunteer Center partnered to contribute $16,000 to World Relief Triad. Pictured from left to right are Nayasia Coleman, assistant director for the Center for Community Engagement; Angelica Lopez; Abby Ray, advocacy coordinator at World Relief Triad; Aleah Hayes; Grayson Rachels; Rob Cassell, executive director at World Relief Triad; Hannah Rehm, volunteer services manager at World Relief Triad; and SGA President Katy Parisi.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to give to an organization that will directly aid in the resettlement of Afghan refugees,” says Dalton Lucas, a senior and Bonner Leader from Virginia. “I look forward to seeing our new neighbors thrive in our community.”

Half of the money will support family aid like transportation, housing, utilities and food. The rest will aid in staffing to handle the rise in displaced families.